[I received a paperback copy of this book in return for an honest review]
Synopsis: There is no chosen one in this story.
Avery Gray was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and happened to make a decision that altered her future forever. It happens to all of us every day.
Avery is a size twelve university student with a penchant for dry humour, and she’s as normal as they come. Up until now, the biggest choice she’s had to make was glasses or contacts? At the moment, it’s stay and save, or leave and be saved.
Allow me to explain. One rainy afternoon, Avery had to make a choice: go through the alleyway or around it. Two possible options. One would have had her future continue on as planned, the other would ensure that her future never remained the same again. She unknowingly went with the latter.
But change is not always bad. Avery meets Theodore-James Connors, an enigmatic young man who takes her to Hayven, a city separated from the rest of the world, where only gifters – ordinary people with extra-ordinary gifts – can go. She soon finds herself in a close-knit group of friends she’d never have imagined herself in. Friends who are diverse in every possible way, from their ethnic backgrounds, to their personalities, from their gifts, to their life stories. Friends who make her laugh, who make her cry, who make her think and who make her…her.
However, change is not always good. The beautiful, golden city of Hayven has its dark side – Cliders. Gifters turned rogue, aka, Cliders are determined to aid fallen Clider, Madrina, return to rule Hayven. They will stop at nothing to make that happen, including harming those Ava has grown to love.
Again, Ava is faced with a choice: spend her days finding a way to inhibit Madrina’s return, or walk away. After all, she isn’t the chosen one. Yet, there exists a third option – rig the future itself and make it work for her.
Before I get into my review, I’d just like to say a big thank you to Jessica for sending me a copy of her novel for me to read and review. Not only did she send me a paperback, but it was also beautifully wrapped in tissue paper with a cute little tag with a hand-written note. It was just so thoughtful! I always feel humbled when authors contact me asking for me to read their books, I know how daunting it must be especially as a new author, to have people post their opinions all over the internet!
Now, onto the book. This was a little gift – I swear I didn’t know I was writing the pun until after it happened… I really enjoyed reading this! I absolutely flew through it. With very little time to myself, it only took a total of 4 days, which at the moment is very good going against my work schedule. It was fun, light hearted, easy to read, and had just enough mystery to keep me intrigued. Oh, and the cover is sooo pretty too!
Although at times I found it to be a bit expositional – there were points where we were just told a lot of information – I was interested to read about the world, characters and all of their unique gifts. In most novels you only find a few select “powers” that people possess due to their family, or what-not, but here each character had their own power, and a specific skill or development of that, be it telepathy, weather control, fire yielding etc. Along with this, cultural diversity was at the core of the characters, which made for a refreshing change, but could sometimes seem as though there was no specific reason for it beside to make sure that each denomination is represented. Thoughtful, and obviously fair, but was it essential? I don’t know, perhaps more themes such as race will be tackled in the coming installments.
I also want to know how the relationship between Ava and Theo is going to plan out. There was a little hint of something, but then nothing really kicked off. The superficial part of me is hoping for a romance, but the other part likes that it’s not obvious!
Overall, I would definitely recommend this to anyone who loves a bit of magic, adventure, mystery and teen fiction – I know I’ll be reading the second book when it’s released!
A little interview with the author, J.A. George:
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
My author name is J.A. George and my full name is Jessica George. I’ll leave the middle name a mystery. I like to read, write, bake, socialise with my friends and watch movies at the cinema. I’m the author of GIFTED – The Hayven Series and I am a chocolate fiend. Seriously, it’s gotten to the point where I may need to seek professional help about it. My perfect day would involve all of the above and perhaps an hour or two spent at a food market. I can’t wait to adopt a dog, but I also want a pet pig…
How did you come about writing the book?
I started off writing Gifted because I wanted to read it. I wanted to read a contemporary YA fantasy novel that didn’t feature instant-love, a chosen one or a girl growing up in a dystopian society. I just wanted to read about someone normal, someone I could relate to. Someone who worries about the way she looks, but never says it out loud, has a sense of humour, thinks about the small stuff. Then I wanted to take her and place her in a world she never thought existed. I wanted to explore real young adult relationships, friendships and modern-day topics such as, body weight issues and cheating in relationships. Gifted is a lot less sombre than it sounds, I promise!
What are your inspirations?
There are many but I’ll list the main two. I am inspired by the opportunities and possibilities writing Gifted can bring and I am inspired by ordinary people who are extra-ordinary in some shape or form.
Any challenges you’ve overcome?
Yes, and that’s trying not to write for other people. Like I mentioned above, I wrote Gifted because I wanted to read it. Somewhere along the to year line I lost that and began crafting a book I thought readers would like and buy, dismissing my feelings entirely. In my second edition (the one that’s currently published), I happily returned to writing the book I want to read.
What plans do you have for the rest of the series?
There are three more books in the series and the POV will alternate. I am so excited for this! Things get a lot more serious in book two and onwards, and the group won’t always be together. So you’ll see what’s happening from each of the seven main character’s POV’s and maybe an additional extra or so.
This sounds so exciting! I know I for one, cannot wait for book 2…
“Where can I get a copy?!” I hear you say… why, just click the links below:
You can find out more about Gifted here: